Yeats2015 – An Exciting Year of Celebration in Ireland
to Mark the 150th Anniversary of the Birth of WB Yeats

Yeats2015 is a yearlong program of cultural and artistic events to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of Irish Nobel prize-winning poet William Butler Yeats. This is the first time that Ireland will honor any one individual in this way.

An internationally renowned poet and playwright, Yeats was cited by the Nobel Academy in 1923, as having 'given expression to the spirit of a whole nation.' He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in December 1923, the first Irish man to do so.

The yearlong program will feature contemporary, classical and traditional arts events spanning theatre, dance, poetry, literature, visual arts, music, educational events, concerts, readings, talks, exhibitions and festivals all centred around WB Yeats work, life and family

Cultural events centered on Sligo, Galway, Dublin, London and in counties across Ireland are echoed in a diverse international program. Through the prism of one of Ireland’s greatest artists, Yeats2015 marks a moment to celebrate and promote creativity in Ireland and elsewhere, and to reconsider the role of culture, community and the arts in the contemporary world. 

eats’ love of Ireland and of places in Ireland that were of particular inspiration to him in Sligo, Galway and Dublin will also be celebrated as part of the program. Visitors wishing to walk in Yeats’ shoes will be encouraged to visit places like Innisfree, the Sally Gardens, BenBulben Mountain, Coole Park and Thoor Ballylee.

Key program highlights include a worldwide celebration of Yeats Day on June 13th, an exhibition of John Yeats paintings at the National Gallery, a celebratory music and poetry weekend of events at the National Concert Hall, an expanded Yeats Summer School in Sligo, theatre and dance performances at national arts festivals and widespread literary and poetry events throughout the year. The National Library will also host a series of events at its award-winning exhibition, the Life and Works of William Butler Yeats, as will the Galway City Museum and The Model in Sligo.

For more information see: 


2015 Coole Music Orchestra Festival
March 7, 2015
Gort, Co. Galway
2015 will see the festival celebrate the life of WB Yeats by performing Yeats poetry with accompanying choir and orchestra including works by Irish composers in each performance. This festival in the West of Ireland presents young orchestras and choral groups of high artistic standard from all over Ireland to audiences.

For more information see -

Yeats 150: The Harp Festival of Moons
Thursday 5th March - Galway
This will be the second performance of the Harp Festival of Moons. Yeats included the moon and landscape in much of his literary work and his connection to the harp as both a national emblem and a symbol on our coinage inspired the hosting of a music event featuring the harp on the full moon of every month in 2015. 
Kiltartan Church, Galway presented in partnership with The Yeats and Lady Gregory Trail and The Irish Harp Centre, Limerick

For more information contact

Feis Slighigh
March 27 – 29, 2015
Sligo Southern Hotel
Featuring a series of competitions including the Yeats Cup for Senior and Junior Levels at the English Verse Speaking weekend of the Feis, March 27 - 29. 
Further information at
Yeats Country and Lakelands Bike Tour
A 12 Day/ 11 Night self-guided bike tour to explore the wild Atlantic landscape that inspires WB Yeats poetry in Ireland’s North West. This tour starts and finishes in Sligo and is easily accessible from both Dublin Airport and Ireland West Airport. Full 12 day leisurely tour, or an 8/6 day shorter option is available from 28 March – 25 October 2015.
Further information is available at 

Daily Year-round Events
The Yeats Collection at the National Library of Ireland (NLI) &
Kildare Street, Dublin 2
The National Library, reflecting its long association with Yeats, and building on its award-winning exhibition Yeats: The Life and Work of William Butler Yeats, will offer a varied program of events to mark this landmark year.

The exhibition Yeats: The Life and Works of William Butler Yeats is at the heart of the National Library of Ireland on Kildare St, where WBY was a frequent visitor throughout his life. Described as "one of the most important literary exhibitions yet staged internationally", over half a million visitors from Ireland and abroad have experienced the life and works of the poet in person at this wonderful exhibition. 

The exhibition is based on the Yeats Collection - thousands of manuscripts and other items written by or relating to William Butler Yeats. It is the largest collection of Yeats’ material in the world, featuring drafts of the writer’s most famous works, in addition to personal papers ranging from diaries and letters to royalty statements and tax returns; from school reports and news clippings to automatic writing and WBY’s personal library of books.

For more information see:

The Abbey Theatre Backstage Tours
Get an exclusive insight into the history and behind the scenes work of Ireland’s national theatre, co-founded by WB Yeats, on a guided backstage tour. Knowledgeable tour guides lead an engaging visit through the many aspects that come together to make Ireland’s national theatre, exploring the fascinating challenges of each new production. Enjoy an introduction to their historic art collection, a drink at the Yeats Lounge and be inspired by the founders, William Butler Yeats, Lady Gregory and Edward Martyn.

Tours are scheduled to match the running dates of Abbey stage plays.
Tours last for approximately one hour fifteen minutes and start from the Abbey Theatre foyer at 4pm Wednesday to Friday and 11.30am on Saturdays, subject to backstage access. Backstage tours are not scheduled during previews or technical periods.

Access: The tour crosses four levels of the Abbey and involves some stairs. Please specify if mobility is an issue when booking, as the Abbey will accommodate those with reduced mobility.

Price: €8 per person / €6 per person for groups of 6 – 12 people
Booking: Tickets available online at or call +353 (0)1 87 87 222. Tickets are limited

Yeats at One: Hargadon’s Pub
At 1pm every day, in one of Sligo’s oldest pubs, the Nobel poet WB Yeats will be celebrated with a reading of one of his poems.
For more information, see:

Galway City Museum (Galway)
Will host an exhibition in their foyer from January to August 2015. They will also host a program of literary education workshops, readings and events throughout the year. 

For more information see
The Model (Sligo)
January to December 2015
The Model, home of The Niland Collection, is one of Ireland’s leading contemporary arts centers.

This award-winning building is home to the impressive Niland Collection of art, one of the most notable collections in Ireland and featuring works by John and Jack B. Yeats, Estella Solomons, Paul Henry and Louis Le LeBrocquy among others. The Model’s program for Yeats2015 will include the captivating Psychic Lighthouse exhibition, Yeats-inspired family days, The Candlelight Salon, a creative chat session and a program of music and film inspired by Yeats.

For more information, see

Dedicated Tourism Website Launched for Lough Derg

A new website dedicated exclusively to the promotion of the Lakelands Lough Derg region,, has been launched by Alan Kelly, Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government. The site provides visitors to the region with information on places to visit, events, accommodation providers and restaurants, special offers, and land and water-based activities.

The website is one of a number of marketing initiatives being rolled out over the coming months during 2015 to establish the Lough Derg area in counties Clare, Galway and Tipperary as Ireland's premier lakeland destination.

"Lough Derg is the most important tourism asset in this region, and the lake has the capacity and the potential to entice and host domestic and international visitors alike," stated Kelly. The Minister added: "We need to continue to work on increasing the demand for lakeside and leisure activities and attract tourists into the Lakelands Lough Derg Region. An online presence is just one activity to assist us in doing this".

Kelly confirmed that a €2million stimulus package is being invested to progress the objectives of the "Roadmap for Experience Development and Destination Marketing Plan 2014-2017" for Lough Derg, which was launched earlier in 2014.

Implementation of the plan is coordinated by the Lough Derg Marketing Group (LDMG), comprising Fáilte Ireland, Waterways Ireland, Inland Fisheries, Clare, Galway and Tipperary County Councils and tourism trade representatives from the private sector.

In addition to the website, the LDMG has coordinated a promotional video for the Lakelands Lough Derg Region, which is available to view on the newly launched website and which local tourism businesses are encouraged to incorporate into their websites. Lakelands Lough Derg will also be promoted on websites across France and Germany, while a domestic marketing campaign is planned for the national print and broadcast media in early 2015.

Joe MacGrath, LDMG chairperson and chief executive of Tipperary County Council, commented: "One of the key objectives outlined in the Roadmap is to improve orientation around Lough Derg for visitors. This will be achieved by erecting new signage to create a sense of arrival and enhance the visitor experience in exploring the area." 

He said the Roadmap focuses on the three counties of Clare, Tipperary and Galway that border the lake, with signage from motorways to the regional and local roads included in the plan. "Work is progressing in relation to this project and new signage is expected to be put in place in 2015," MacGrath indicated.

"The marketing and promotion of Lough Derg is an ongoing process," explained Áine McCarthy, tourism marketing coordinator for Lough Derg, who added: "For example, the Lough Derg Marketing Group launched a pilot food tourism initiative, A Taste of Lough Derg in June, 2014, became an instant success generating public attention on social media." 

"The initiative will be extended next year to get more of the tourism trade involved, with more events taking place throughout the summer months offering visitors to Lough Derg a choice of food events to attend," added McCarthy.

Wild Atlantic Way Heritage Tourism Project Launched

A pilot project that has resulted in the development of a heritage trail on 60km of the Wild Atlantic Way (WAW) is being hailed as a template for future similar developments along the West of Ireland coastal route from Donegal to West Cork.

Clare County Council, in partnership with Loop Head Tourism, The Heritage Council and Fáilte Ireland, today launched the Loop Head and Kilkee Heritage Trail on the Wild Atlantic Way.

The guide features 18 local heritage attractions including the West Clare Railway, the Church of the Little Ark, Kilkee Victorian Town and the Bridges of Ross, as well as other local WAW Discovery and Signature Points.

Through consultation with the local community and stakeholders, the pilot project also features recommendations to make it more streamlined and cost effective for other local communities to replicate the same project along the 2,500km WAW.

Cllr. John Crowe, Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council welcomed the selection of Kilkee and the Loop Head Peninsula as the location for the pilot project and said he hoped other WAW communities will be inspired to further enhance their tourism product offering.

images/tourism/c.html He added: "The development and promotion of lesser known attractions is often overlooked even though they hold the key to revitalizing the domestic tourism sector. The Loop Head Peninsula boasts a variety of local heritage sites and attractions, along with some of Ireland’s most unique and breathtaking scenery. The development of this Trail complements work undertaken throughout the Loop Head Peninsula in recent years to develop and promote the local tourism product."

Congella McGuire, Heritage Officer with Clare County Council, said Loop Head’s growing reputation as a visitor destination has evolved as a result of "a bottom-up, community focused approach."

"The project is aimed at promoting a greater sense of understanding of the history, heritage, folklore and culture along the Wild Atlantic Way (WAW) route by connecting with and placing the local community at the core of this and future WAW projects," she said.

McGuire noted that a systematic project methodology was used in the development of the heritage trail.

"The first key task was the identification of potential heritage trail sites by the project steering group and key community representatives," she indicated, adding that an inspection of each of the 27 potential heritage sites was undertaken where a set of site assessment criteria were applied and this potential list was refined. "This was followed by research and interpretation tasks surrounding the 18 sites on the final list and the Maritime History, Folklore and Traditions, Flora and Fauna, and Built, Military and Religious Heritage of the area," she commented.

McGuire continued: "The recommendations, processes and checklists outlined in the final project report should allow the project to be replicated and help future projects be more efficient, streamlined and cost effective. They also provide a clear model for working with the local community and stakeholders and will help deliver high quality and consistent design ready interpretation content along the entire WAW."

Cillian Murphy, chair of Loop Head Tourism, added, "We are delighted to have had this opportunity to work with The Heritage Council, Failte Ireland and Clare County Council on developing the first destination led heritage trail on the WAW. It is testament to the hard work done by the group over the last number of years that we were chosen to be the pilot project on how to showcase our local heritage to visitors, enticing them to slow down and spend a little longer in each destination along the Wild Atlantic Way."

"The resulting Loop Head Peninsula Heritage Trail is a shining example of what can be achieved when statutory agencies and local community groups co-operate in a bottom-up approach to tourism development," added Murphy. He went on to say that County Clare has placed itself at the forefront of responsible tourism development in Ireland over the last number of years and this project is further proof of that decision paying dividends and benefiting both locals and visitors.

The Loop Head and Kilkee Heritage Trail on the Wild Atlantic Way features Carrigaholt Castle and Bay, Bridges of Ross, Kilkee Cliffs and Pollock Holes (WAW Discovery Points), Church of the Little Ark (WAW Signature Point), Blackweir Bridge, Doonaha Ringforts, Tullig Famine Village, Corbally and Coosheen (Heritage Areas), Bishops Island, Dunlicka Castle, Loop Head, Pilots Memorial and Kilbaha Bay, Grave of the Yellow Men, Rinevella Bay and Submerged Forest, Kilcredaun Churches and Holy Well, Kilcredaun Churches and Holy Well, Querrin Pier and the West Clare Railway (Heritage Sites).

The Trail Z-Card will shortly be made available throughout the region. For more visit www.loophead.ieand

Red Carnation Keeps Ashford Upscale

In keeping with Ashford Castle's grandeur, the new owners, the Tollman family of Red Carnation Hotels, have included carefully selected artwork, antique furniture and carpeting from the finest auction houses including Christie's and Lots Road. Multi-colored fabrics from Brunschwig & Fils, the same fabric makers for the White House and Palace of Versailles with upholstery from world-renowned, London-based A.T. Cronin Workshop adorn each space. Award-winning Kai velvet curtains and wall fabrics complete the look.

Period piece highlights in the billiards room include a mid-19th-century Jacobean Revival carved oak fireplace and overmantle with Tudor roses and acanthus motifs and a royal-stamped, full-sized mahogany and satinwood cross-banded billiards table from Thurson & Co. Ltd. with Edwardian-era mahogany scoreboard. The table and scoreboard were previously owned by world-champion billiards player Joe Davis who held the title for 20 straight years. 

Vintage film posters from around the world hang throughout the cinema room, including from John Wayne's action film Chisum and the Italian version of Clint Eastwood's Dirty Harry. Hot popcorn is delivered on request and candy dispensers are also available and fully stocked for those with a sweet tooth.

For more information on Ashford Castle, visit

Ashford Castle is set on 350 acres in Co. Mayo, on the shores of Lough Corrib and the River Cong, with a backdrop of woodlands, lake, river and mountains. It features 82 guestrooms and is renowned for a range of country sports including an equestrian center, fly fishing, a nine-hole golf course and Ireland's first school of falconry. Several dining rooms and bars, along with a gracious afternoon tea service are among the amenities. 

Ashford Castle is a member of the Red Carnation Hotel Collection, an award-winning collection of five- and four-star family-run boutique hotels in London, Dorset, Guernsey, Geneva, Florida, South Africa and now Ireland. Each property has its own individual character and unique location that reflects the local environment, culture and cuisine. For more information about these award-winning hotels and the rest of the Red Carnation Collection, go to

Ireland has big designs on 2015

Devotees of contemporary design should pencil in a date with the island of Ireland for 2015 – the country has set aside the entire year for a big celebration of Irish design in just about every form.

With a full schedule of commissioned and internationally-hosted exhibitions, talks and workshops, the Emerald Isle’s ID2015 program will be the ideal destination for anyone with an eye for good design, an interest in Irish design culture, or even just wanting to see something new and fresh.

The year will showcase the very best from Irish design in a packed program of designer experiences, through signature events throughout the island and in international capitals of design and commerce.

As part of the celebration the International Association of Designers has designated Dublin a World Design Hub. Outside the country there will be showcases at design weeks, fashion weeks, and architecture biennales in selected international design capitals, including London Fashion Week, Milan Design Week, Tokyo Designers Week, Maison et Objet, Paris, and the Chicago Architecture Biennial.

Renowned Irish and international designers will take part in a varied schedule of ID2015 events in the Irish capital, with exhibitions, workshops, festivals, talks and more.

Exhibitions will take place throughout the year in several prestigious venues, including the Design Hub at historic Dublin Castle, and in other venues around the country such as the National Craft Gallery in Kilkenny.

The flagship exhibition is Irish Design Here/Now, which will explore design in Ireland and the work of Irish designers at home and abroad.

Annual events that will have a particular design focus for 2015 include: Showcase – Ireland’s International Creative Expo, Offset Creative Festival, Appetite for Design - Culinary Design Experience, Dublin Design Week, a global business design conference, as well as a grand exhibition by the A’ Design Awards, one of the world’s leading design accolades.

A number of major Irish festivals will have design themes for ID2015, including Dublin’s St Patrick’s Festival, the Galway International Arts Festival, Cork Craft and Design Festival, and Craft Month Northern Ireland.

A series of exhibitions celebrating local design heroes is also being planned.
A new generation of exciting craftspeople and designers is shaking up the scene on the island of Ireland, mixing traditional techniques with a contemporary edge.

The country will be steeped in design, imagination and creativity all through 2015. Anyone who wants to learn about Irish design and meet the people behind it will have boundless opportunity to connect with it.
To see the full schedule of events visit: or

12.5% increase in Cliffs of Moher Visitor Numbers

Visitor numbers at the Clare County Council-owned Cliffs of Moher visitor attraction have increased by 12.5% during 2014, breaking the one million mark for the first time. Visitor numbers have hit 1,075,000 for 2014, representing an increase of more than 115,000 visitors on the overall figure for 2013. 

Last year marks the fourth successive year of increased visitor numbers to the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience. The visitor center has also seen substantial investment in product and facilities in 2014 with a spend of over €600,000 on additional coach parking facilities, new exhibition content, restoration works in O’Brien’s Tower and a redesign of the foyer at the visitor centre.

"A number of positive factors combined during 2014 to drive visitor numbers over the one million mark," said Katherine Webster, director of Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience.

"New routes and increased access into Shannon Airport, the launch by Failte Ireland of the Wild Atlantic Way on which the Cliffs of Moher are a Signature Discovery point, the popularity of the 12-kilometre Cliffs of Moher Coastal Walk, and the Cliffs of Moher's close links with Brian Ború during the millennial anniversary of his death have all contributed to the visitor number increase during 2014, she pointed out.

"Meanwhile, strong performances from the core North American, UK, German and French markets have added to the growth seen in newer markets such as Australia, South Africa, China and South America," added Webster.

Mount Stewart Reunited with its Historic Demesne

Mount Stewart’s world famous house and gardens are set to be reunited with their historic demesne after more than 50 years. The news comes as the National Trust today announced plans which will see the area which the conservation charity looks after increase from 100 to 1000 acres

The £4m investment from the National Trust comes as the £7.5m project to restore the house at Mount Stewart enters its final weeks.

Announcing the news, Jon Kerr, National Trust Manager at Mount Stewart said: "This year as we celebrate the completion of the house restoration project at Mount Stewart, we will begin another new chapter in its history as we reunite the house and garden with its historic demesne.

"With a story dating back hundreds of years, the landscape will now extend beyond the house and garden on the shores of Strangford Lough to include the surrounding 1,000 acres of rolling parkland and woodland which make up the demesne. In time, visitors will be able to explore extensive woodland, previously unseen walled gardens, farmland and a range of historic monuments and buildings.

"Combined with a newly restored house and one of the top gardens in the world – in years to come this will create a destination which offers a fascinating insight in to the stories of the Stewart family. I really believe that Mount Stewart is an extraordinary place, and it deserves to be safeguarded and protected for many generations to come."
Lady Rose Lauritzen, granddaughter of Edith Lady Londonderry, welcomed the news: "The number of people visiting Mount Stewart continues to rise every year and the pleasure it gives to so many people will be enhanced by the opening of the demesne. This will eventually enable visitors to walk, ride or cycle around the old rides, and enjoy the beauty of the wildlife and wild flowers in a totally unspoilt part of Northern Ireland.

"Mount Stewart for me is more like a relation or a best friend and having experienced so much pleasure all my life surrounded by the exquisite thousand acres, I feel very strongly that it should be shared by everyone. I know for the Trust this is an important long term investment."

Heather Thompson, director for the National Trust in Northern Ireland, said: "Our £4m investment in the demesne is in addition to the £7.5m house restoration project which will complete in April 2015 - a clear demonstration of the National Trust’s commitment to conservation that will leave a legacy for everyone in Northern Ireland to enjoy, forever.

"This is a really special opportunity to open up access to a truly beautiful part of our countryside. Looking after the wider demesne will require a huge amount of work and we will be developing a range of plans over the next few years, in preparation for opening this amazing landscape to our members, supporters and visitors."

"I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the Arts Council and HMRC who helped guide us through the Acceptance in Lieu (AIL) process which has made this possible. As part of the same AIL process we will also see an amazing collection of historic items returning to the house. So this really is a big year for Mount Stewart," Thompson emphasized. 

Although visitors will not be able to access the full demesne for a number of years, the Trust has already opened up areas of the previously unseen Walled Garden and Dairy.

Neil Porteus, Head Gardener at Mount Stewart said; "Once the powerhouse of the demesne, the Walled Garden provided plants, raised mainly from seed, supplied by plant collectors from around the World, and produced a wide variety of fruit and vegetables to serve the house and feed the estate staff.

"A significant project in itself, restoring the Walled Garden in years ahead will incorporate the return of an extensive collection of the best scented period roses. In the open quarters of the orchard there are plans to plant a selection of fruit trees. Over the longer term we will once again grow soft fruit in the restored Vineries and Peach Houses."

The newly restored house at Mount Stewart will open a range of exciting new rooms to visitors in April with a UTV documentary airing later in the summer. Meanwhile the world class gardens are open to visitors to enjoy throughout the year.

More About the National Trust:
- The National Trust’s £7.5m restoration project to save Mount Stewart includes essential repairs and improvements to the structure and services of this precious house. Its treasures are also being carefully repaired alongside important research carried out to bring back to life this family home back to its former glory. The house will reopen to visitors in April 2015.

- The total cost of the project is £7.5 m, the majority being invested directly by the National Trust. The project is being delivered with local contractors H & J Martin. The project has significant benefits for the local economy, through the creation of new jobs, preservation of heritage skills, apprenticeships, appointing local companies and the development of a major tourist attraction for Northern Ireland.

- The Vinery at Mount Stewart is the only significant historic glasshouse left in the demesne which is home to the ancient, ‘White Syrian’ vine, (the oldest vine in Ireland and the second oldest in the UK, planted one year after the Hampton Court Vine, which dates back to 1768).

- For more information on the Acceptance in Lieu process please visit:

- The Garfield Weston Foundation is a family-founded charitable grant-making foundation which supports a wide range of causes across the UK, donating over £54million in the most recent financial year. It was established in 1958 by Willard Garfield Weston and has donated over £785 million, becoming one of the largest and most respected charitable institutions in the UK. The trustees are descendants of the founder and the Weston Family takes a highly active and hands-on approach. For further information, visit


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